Upcoming Fall 2017 Dorothea Dix Park Events

Dorothea Dix ParkHave you visited Dorothea Dix Park lately? Located just south of Downtown Raleigh, its rolling hills and grassy open fields are the perfect spot for a picnic, skyline photos (mine are courtesy of the super talented MasonDee Photography), or attending a City of Raleigh event or program.

The City of Raleigh purchased Dorothea Dix Park two years ago from the state of NC to develop a destination park. Though construction is still years away, master planning is underway. I’m super excited to begin my workgroup involvement in the master planning of the park this fall. I know the city will look for lots of public input into the park and now is the time to visit!

Whether you’re looking for child-friendly events, volunteer opportunities, or historical walking tours here are some of their upcoming park events:

  • Sun., Aug 13 from 2-6pm: Recess Raleigh – attend a free annual summer cookout to benefit Helping Hands Mission of Raleigh. Summer cookout features food and drink prepared by Capital Club 16, games, activities, music and art; FREE; all ages; Dix Park Athletic Field
  • Wed., Aug. 16 at 12pm: Urban Design Center Talks: Bold Ideas for Dix – visit the City of Raleigh Museum and listen to a monthly lecture series highlighting bold ideas, issues, and topics important to the development of the new Dorothea Dix Park. Each monthly lecture features a different presenter covering topics such as inclusivity, ecology, access, arts and culture, history, transportation, economic development, and connectivity; FREE and open to the public; registration not required
  • Wed., Aug. 16 at 1pm: Explore Dorothea Dix Park: Water Wonders – meet in the big field and explore activities and games featuring water! Ages 2+; free; pre-registration is required
  • Wed., Aug. 23 from 6-8pm or Tues., Sept 12 from 5:30-7:30pm: Explore Dorothea Dix Park: Guided Walking Tour – go on a 2 hour, 3.5 mile walking tour to learn about the history, current use, and future plans for the Dorothea Dix park; FREE; all ages; pre-registration is required
  • Sat., Sept. 9 from 9am-12pm: Explore Dorothea Dix Park: Volunteer Invasive Species Removal – round up your friends and neighbors and volunteer your time removing invasive plants threatening natural habitats of the park; FREE; ages 16+; volunteers under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult; registration information via Cervistech
  • Wed., Oct. 18 from 12pm-1:15pm: Trolley Tour of Dorothea Dix Park – go on a 1.5 hour tour of Dorothea Dix Park and learn about the history, current use and future plans for the park; FREE; pre-registration is required

 

 

Top of the Hill Trail @ North Wake Landfill District Park

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A few weeks ago, I woke up before sunrise and headed downtown with just a coffee and my camera in hand.  I have a lot of photos of parks and greenways throughout the city, but not many personal photos of downtown Raleigh.  It was a muggy Sunday morning, so downtown Raleigh had a faint Bourbon Street-like smell with evidence of a super fun Saturday night.  I’ve always had a lot of respect for real photographers, but after this personal quest to capture photos to print for our house I have so much more appreciation for the pros who can really nail down the fine details of light, exposure, camera angle, etc.  It was fun, but exhausting hopping around downtown from Boylan Bridge, near the Shimmer Wall, on McDowell St looking North into downtown Raleigh, and on Fayetteville St.

IMG_4781After about an hour of exploring and taking photos of downtown Raleigh, I headed back to North Raleigh to capture photos from one of the highest places of elevation in Raleigh – Top of the Hill trail in North Wake Landfill District Park.  I’ve visited this park before, mostly for the kids to play on the playground, so it was nice to explore a park solo.  After entering the park, which is under construction, I parked in the small parking lot and made a short .1 mile walk up the gravel trail.  The 360-degree views from the top are amazing!  Despite a muggy morning, I could still see several downtown Raleigh buildings (thanks to the bright red Redhat sign), neighborhoods and water towers in the distance, and trees for miles!  It was so comforting to see how green Wake County still is!

IMG_7333Other than great views from the top, there are several picnic tables, benches, and a bike rack. Even though my downtown Raleigh pictures didn’t turn out as well as I would’ve liked, the whole experience certainly fueled my desire to practice and learn more about photography.

More Resources:

          • previous post about North Wake Landfill District Park
          • Park brochure

Thumbs up: beautiful views, quiet mornings Thumbs down: lack of signage directing you to the trail inside the park

Walnut Creek Wetland Center

img_3191We are always on the lookout for something fun and different to do outside the house especially in the early evenings after nap time. When we attended the Neuse River trail expansion grand opening some folks from the Walnut Creek Wetland Center were there explaining their programs.  I remember them saying their center was open late each weekday, so we finally found some time with our good friends to get out and explore the center.

Walnut Creek Wetland Center is located at 950 Peterson St in downtown Raleigh. Upon arriving at the center, I immediately noticed this center was not in the best area of town.  The center itself is very nice, but all the surrounding parts were less than delightful – there was trash scattered on the nearby trails, apartments across the street seemed sketchy, and nearby fields were neglected.  After getting past that we went inside to explore the center and the girls had a blast.

The mission of the center according to the website is to “Promote the importance of wetlands, wildlife habitat, hydrology, and human interactions with the natural environment.”  There are several free educational games, coloring and stamp activities, nature and animal books to read, stuffed animals, and a touch table featuring different wetland animal skeletons, furs, and more.  The staff was very helpful and excited to help show us around the center.  The center incorporates many environmentally friendly features and offers several organized programs for kids of all ages and three rooms available for rental.

After playing inside for at least 30 minutes, we headed outside to the expansive back deck to explore.  Unfortunately we only saw birds, but if you’re looking to relax they also have several rocking chairs overlooking the floodplain.  After a lot of running back and forth on the deck we headed out to the greenway to explore some more.  We exited the building and headed west on Peterson Dr and then headed south on the Walnut Creek Trail towards Walnut Creek.  Again, the greenway was moderately littered and we didn’t get the impression that we were in a floodplain/wetland area.  We continued on the trail and over a boardwalk to the creek and turned around when we reached State St.  Due to the unkept nature of the trail and the lack of “wetlands” conditions we didn’t feel comfortable continuing on.  For future trips, it may be best to register for a scheduled program that explores the wetlands.

For more information, visit the City of Raleigh Walnut Creek Wetland Center website.

Thumbs up: indoor educational programs/activities/displays, being open past 5pm

Thumbs down: condition of trail, lack of wetlands condition, outdoor wetland display was not working, greenway signage